Thailand seizes 739 African elephant tusks

By Danielle Haynes Follow @DanielleHaynes1 Contact the Author   |   April 20, 2015 at 6:05 PM
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BANGKOK, April 20 (UPI) -- Customs officials in Thailand confiscated 739 African elephant tusks weighing about four tons.

Officials announced the seizure, one of the largest ever recorded, Monday. The shipment was tracked from the Democratic Republic of Congo, where it left two months ago, to a port in Bangkok. It was bound for Laos.

"Moving a shipment of four tons halfway around the world is not a trivial undertaking." Richard Thomas, global communications coordinator in London for TRAFFIC International, a wildlife trade monitoring organization, told Voice of America.

"Movements of this kind are very, very strongly indicative of organized crime."

The tusks were hidden in bags of beans and have a value of about $6 million.

"The Thai authorities are certainly to be congratulated on making this very important seizure. But it does underline just how serious the nature of this illegal activity that is going on is," Thomas said.

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